The government on Wednesday imposed a ban on gutkha, pan masala and other such chewable products in the State as they are found to contain harmful ingredients of tobacco and nicotine which will cause cancer and other diseases.

By an order issued on Wednesday through Health, Medical & Family Welfare Department, the government banned with immediate effect, manufacture, storage, sale, transportation and display of these products.

The step has been taken under various sections of the Food Safety & Standards (Prohibition and Restriction on Sales) Regulations of 2011 and the Food Safety and Standards Act of 2006, conceding a long-standing demand of anti-tobacco organisations and activists.

The ban brings to halt, the indiscriminate sales of gutkha, pan masala and other such chewable products at thousands of roadside bunks and other retails outlets in the State. These are invariably used by drivers, particularly those on long-distance journey, besides others. They are preferred by them to get the necessary ‘kick” and keep them awake.

The government, at the same time, asked the Commissioner, Food Safety, and the Departments of Police, Health, Vigilance & Enforcement, Commercial Taxes, Transport, Labour, Municipal Administration and Panchayat Raj to take immediate steps to ensure enforcement of the ban from day one.

Ban welcomed

Hailing the ban , Director, Apollo Cancer Hospital, Dr. P. Vijayanand Reddy said it would save millions of lives.

In a statement here, he said there were over 3,095 chemical components in chewing tobacco products and 28 among them proved to be carcinogens. He said that over 90 per cent of oral cancer was directly associated with tobacco use and India has the highest prevalence of oral cancer globally -- with 75,000 to 80,000 new cases being reported every year.

He thanked Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy for taking bold step.

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